Highland Park Mill No.3

A giant among giants

When it opened in 1904, the Stuart Cramer-designed Mill No. 3 was the state’s largest and easily recognized by its four-story tower.

  • Past Use

    Yarn and cloth mill specializing in gingham

    1904 – 1969
  • Present Use

    Highland Mill Lofts

    2014 – beyond

After expanding Optimist Park’s Mill No. 1 and purchasing Mill No. 2 in Rock Hill, SC, Mill No. 3 brought added capacity to Highland Park Manufacturing Co., allowing it to become the nation’s third-largest producer of gingham by 1907.

Over 800 workers manned the spindles and looms at this plant. The company also built a power plant on Sugar Creek to run both Mill No. 1 and 3, making them the first electrically driven mills in the state.

But perhaps more importantly, Mill No. 3 led to the establishment of the North Charlotte community, today known as NoDa. Highland Park’s leadership envisioned an almost self-contained industrial district, and this happened as two more mills went up within a quarter-mile of this plant. All were accompanied by the construction of more mill houses, and thus more workers who built their lives within this radius.

The mill remained in operation until the company dissolved in 1969, making it one of the last to close in the area. It was converted into a multifamily apartment community in 2004 and, like several other mills within the Mill District, is on the National Register of Historic Places.